Leicester

Leicester park rape: Zakarya Etarghi jailed for life

Zakarya Etarghi Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption A judge said Zakarya Etarghi's victim was "lucky to be alive"

A rapist who shattered a woman's skull and left her "for dead" in a children's play park has been jailed for life.

The 50-year-old woman was found in a pool of blood in Cedar Road Park, in the Evington area of Leicester, in August.

Zakarya Etarghi, 24, of no fixed address, was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years for rape and attempted murder at Leicester Crown Court.

Judge Nicholas Dean QC told Etarghi the victim was "lucky to be alive".

He said: "She was attacked in a most brutal way by you and she was left for dead by you. Savage is not too extreme a word to use."

In a statement read in court, the victim, who was left with life-threatening injuries, described the attack as "like something out of a horror film".

Matthew Thomas, from the Crown Prosecution Service, described Etarghi as an "extremely dangerous man".

Etarghi, who denied rape and attempted murder, was convicted by a jury on 7 March.

Image caption The 50-year-old woman was found in a pool of blood in a children's play park

The woman was found with a deep head wound and naked from the waist down in the park at about 05:00 BST on 3 August.

Leicestershire Police said Etarghi was seen on CCTV buying alcohol before the attack and then later making off from the scene.

He was arrested after being found "hiding" in Stoke-on-Trent two weeks later.

Etarghi told the trial he had drunk 11 pints of beer and taken 0.5g of cocaine prior to the attack.

He admitted meeting the victim, claimed they had "got intimate" but said she had "no injuries" when he left her.

However, DNA traces matching the woman and Etarghi were found on clothing, beer cans and a discarded condom wrapper.

'Disgusting human being'

The jury heard he had pleaded with friends to get him on "a truck out of the country".

The victim's statement said: "I think he's a horrible and disgusting human being because what he did goes beyond anything that I can speak of.

"I constantly need help and cannot live my life as independently as I once did."

She added: "I wanted justice and that is what I got. I wanted him to know that he can't make life any worse for me than he already has.

"I'm still here, I'm still alive and for that I'm grateful."

Defence barrister Jason Bartfeld QC admitted it was a "grave case" and said there was no mitigation.

Etarghi was also told he must sign the sex offenders register for life.

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